A Pasco County day care worker has been arrested and charged with child abuse.
Linda Klemm, 49, was arrested on Saturday after the mother of a 16-month-old girl said her daughter had bruises on her body when she picked her up from Kids Stop-N-Play day care in Holiday Saturday afternoon. The mother called authorities after discovering her daughter's bruises, deputies said.
The police report listed the injuries on the girl as an abrasion underneath her eye and another on the left side of her face.
Deputies said surveillance video from inside the day care shows Klemm intentionally kicking the girl once on the top of the head. Klemm then dragged her foot over the left side of the girl's face. A short time later, Klemm kicked the child on the buttocks, deputies said.
Klemm, who lives in Tarpon Springs and has worked at the center for four years, was fired. When questioned by authorities, Klemm denied kicking the child on the head and had no explanation for kicking her in the buttocks.
Owner Rhonda Swetland has run the day care for 22 years.
"I'm appalled, devastated," she said.
Swetland said she has done everything she can to avoid these horrible circumstances.
"They're fingerprinted, they're background-checked," she said. "I've done everything I can possibly do, and the cameras say it all."
Parents with children at the day care said they are shocked by the allegations.
"I hope that lady gets the maximum," said Mark Paxton, whose three children attend the day care. "You can’t abuse a child, you can’t kick a child."
Klemm was released on bail on Sunday. Klemm, who has worked at the day care for four years, has a clean record. She has four children of her own.
But Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco is suspicious.
"Wonder what she was thinking, how many times has she done something like this?" he said. "Was this her natural behavior?"
Investigators plan to look at other surveillance video from the day care to see if anything like this has happened before.